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The Atlantic Wins Top Honor for Third Straight Year at 2024 National Magazine Awards


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Tim Alberta, Sophie Gilbert, and Jennifer Senior win for reporting; Jenisha Watts and special issue, “To Reconstruct the Nation,” were finalists

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April 2, 2024, 9:31 PM ET

For the third consecutive year, The Atlantic was awarded the top honor of General Excellence for a News, Sports, and Entertainment publication at the 2024 National Magazine Awards, the most prestigious category in the annual honors from the American Society of Magazine Editors.

The Atlantic also won reporting awards for “Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” by staff writer Tim Alberta; “The Ones We Sent Away,” the September cover by staff writer Jennifer Senior; and cultural reviews and criticism by staff writer Sophie Gilbert. It also was a finalist for “Jenisha From Kentucky,” the October cover story by senior editor Jenisha Watts; and “To Reconstruct the Nation,” a special issue in December that reexamined Reconstruction and the enduring consequences of its failure.

Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg said: “Once again, our team has shown themselves to be the best in the business. It is deeply gratifying to receive this recognition again.”

More on the winners and finalists follows:

  • Staff writer Tim Alberta won in Profile Writing for “Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” an in-depth profile of CNN’s former CEO Chris Licht. Alberta had been meeting with Licht throughout the course of his tenure, and for this story spoke with nearly 100 CNN staffers. The report was explosive and dominated news cycles.

  • In Reviews and Criticism, staff writer Sophie Gilbert won for three articles: “The Death of the Sex Scene,” “Porn Set Women Up From the Start,” and “Madonna Forever.” Gilbert was also a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, and is the author of the recent Atlantic Edition title On Womanhood: Bodies, Literature, Choice, which is a timely, probing essay collection of her writings exploring womanhood in pop culture.

  • Staff writer Jennifer Senior won in the Columns & Essays category for “The Ones We Sent Away,” which was the cover of the September 2023 issue. Senior unraveled the story of her aunt Adele, who was born in 1951 with various intellectual disabilities and was sent away to an institution when she was younger than 2 years old. Senior then explored the ways in which the improved care and facilities in the latter part of Adele’s life helped restore her humanity and identity––defying the expectations that were placed on her as a child.

  • Staff writer Jenisha Watts was a finalist for Feature Writing. In “Jenisha From Kentucky,” which was the cover of the October 2023 issue, Jenisha wrote with remarkable candor about growing up in a crack house, and how she survived it. Watts writes that she was always a “collector of words,” and found solace and escape in her deep love of books; she eventually found her way to the literary and journalistic world of New York, where she tried to hide her past. It is, as Goldberg said in an editor’s note, “one of the most heartbreaking, insightful, and emotionally resonant stories in recent memory.”

  • Nominated for Single-Topic Issue was “To Reconstruct the Nation,” from December 2023. The centerpiece of the issue, which was led by senior editor Vann R. Newkirk II, was a new feature-length play by the actor, playwright, and Atlantic contributing writer Anna Deavere Smith, which appears along with essays by writers, historians, and scholars including Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III, Jordan Virtue, Peniel E. Joseph, Drew Gilpin Faust, and Eric Foner.

For the second straight year, The Atlantic earned the honor for Best Print Illustration, this year for the October cover portrait of Jenisha Watts by Didier Viodé.

In the past year, The Atlantic’s journalistic excellence has driven growth across the company, including the recent announcement that the company surpassed 1 million subscriptions and is profitable. Last month, it published “The Great American Novels,” an ambitious project collecting the most consequential novels of the past 100 years. The April cover story, “The Golden Age of American Jews Is Ending,” by Franklin Foer, looks at how the rise of anti-Semitism on both the right and the left threatens to end an era of unprecedented safety and prosperity for Jewish Americans.

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